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Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition
Scarborough Civic Centre - February 28, 2009
10:30 AM: Check in - Registration – followed by display of bridges for viewing by
judges and public
12:00 PM: Masters of Ceremony
Asogan Narayanapillai, P.Eng. and Kwame Johnson, EIT
12:05 PM: Welcome by Chapter Past Chair
Ranee Mahalingam, M.Eng., P.Eng.
12:10 PM: Contest Procedures and Rules
Sunaina Menezes, EIT
12:15 PM: Competition Begins
3:15 PM: Chair’s Message
Raju Chander, M.S, P.Eng.
3:50 PM: Awards - Performance and Judges
4:30 PM: Group Pictures of Winners
Naren Mylvaganam, P.Eng.
5:00 PM: Thank you by Event Manager
Samer Zabana, P.Eng.
Hon. Brad Duguid, MPP, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Stephanie Powers, P.Eng, Vice President, Ontario Power Generation
Rob Kivi, P.Eng, Vice President, MMM Group Ltd.
Kim Allen, MBA, P.Eng, CEO & Registrar, PEO
Angela Shama, P.Eng, CEO, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
Connie Mucklestone, Director Communications & Chapters, PEO
Corneliu Chisu, P.Eng, Senior Councillor, East Central Region, PEO
Denis Carlos, P.Eng, Junior Councillor, East Central Region, PEO
Message by the Chair
I am glad that you have taken the initiative to build a model bridge
thereby showing to yourself that you can create wonderful objects
that can make a huge difference in the world! Don’t you feel that you can also contribute
more to the society by building many more wonderful things such as the bridge you’ve
just built? I’m guessing your answer is yes.
Engineers also build such small models to test their design before building the real thing.
This is so that they can test out any problems with their product safety-wise before
spending millions of dollars on a project. In the real world engineers produce all the
materials such as cell phones, buses, cars, houses, schools, heating systems etc. essential
for today’s society. This knowledge and the creative power of engineers are used by
businesses to create wealth.
Whether you win this contest or not it does not matter. What matters is that you’ve taken
the right step towards a great future! In the future you may become one of those
engineers who build space shuttles, nuclear reactors or miniature tools for doctors to use
when saving lives.
On behalf of the PEO Scarborough Chapter Board I wish you all the best in the contest
and in the future.
Raju Chander, M.S, P.Eng.
Chair, PEO Scarborough Chapter
MMM is pleased to support the Bridge Building Competition 2009
and Scarborough Chapter – PEO
And congratulates all of the participants for their efforts
100 Commerce Valley Drive West
Thornhill, ON L3T 0A1
Tel: 905.882.1100 Fax: 905.882.0055
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE
PARTICIPANTS OF THE
BRIDGE BUILDING COMPETITION
PAUL FOSTER BA, FCSI
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Bridge Building Competition –
Dhruvil Patel- Participant - Bridge Building Competition (2008)
I love bridge building competition! It's a way to express our talents.
I didn't know how much talent I have, until I was a part of bridge
building competition. It's an annual event that occurs every year.
Grades 3-8 can participate in this. I participated in bridge building
competition last year and even this year.
My goal was to make my bridge stronger and beautiful, so I used
rainbow colored Popsicle sticks and school glue. I used optimum
glue to help reduce the weight of the bridge. To make my bridge stronger, I broke some
Popsicle sticks in various ways to find the strength of the Popsicle sticks in different
arrangements. The two beams on each side of the bridge are key members to carry more
load. You can make them stronger by sticking multiple sticks together.
All joints are key to success. If joints are weak then it will fail easily. To make all the
joints stronger I stuck additional small pieces of sticks around the joints. Surf the
Internet to find the information on construction and design of bridges, so you will be
ready to answer the questions of judges. I was prepared to answer the questions
about my bridge construction and design.
Draw the bridge design on a paper, estimate the number of sticks and then weigh them it
should be less then the weight permitted. Generally 10 to 15 percent weight you have to
consider for glue. Bridge building is a long process. You need to plan for the
construction. It did take me long to construct my bridge, I finished 2 days before it was
due, so that the glue had enough time to dry.
When we reached there it was so exciting! I wasn't the only one that was so excited but as
I looked around and saw many excited faces. Then the time finally came to go for
inspection. PEO Volunteers checked the weight and different dimensions of the bridges.
You should construct your bridge within the limit of dimensions and weight specified in
rules otherwise your bridge may be disqualified at the inspection and you will be out.
Judges asked questions about the design and construction of the bridges and they also
look at the creativity. They test the bridge using a machine. The machine measured the
breaking load. Finally they declared the performance results. Performance factor is the
ratio of load carried by the bridge before the breaking to the weight of the bridge. If the
bridge is lighter in weight the performance is better.
Unfortunately, my bridge didn't carry more load in testing, but I got good marks from the
judges. Finally I got prize and certificate form PEO. There are two criteria for the final
result. There were three prizes on performance base and three based on judge's results for
each grade students. I was really happy and decided to participate this year too. I
would like to thanks PEO, Scarborough chapter, who brings exciting moments in the life
of kids every year.
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People have always required a means of Log Bridge
crossing over obstructions such as gorges and
rivers safely. Bridges were constructed to fulfill
the need to span over obstacles safely.
The first bridges consisted of a log or logs placed Early Wood Cantilever
over the obstruction. These were beam bridges. Bridge
The beam bridge is the simplest of all types of
bridges, and is basically a rigid horizontal
structure supported on piers. Today beam
bridges are constructed from steel, timber,
laminated wood, reinforced and prestressed Pont du Gard
concrete. The geometry of the beams includes France
rectangular, “I” and box shapes. Typical spans 19 BC
range from 10m to 200m.
Arch bridges are arch shaped and transfer loads
through compression to the base. Types of arch
bridges include tied, hingeless, two hinged and Masonry Arch Bridge
three hinged. The deck can be placed under,
above or through the arch. The Greeks used
arch bridges, however the Romans perfected the
arch using stone and concrete to span across
large valleys and carry water and people. During
the 18th century arch bridges were constructed Iron Bridge
using iron. After the 18th century, iron was Coalbrookdale, England
replaced with steel. Today arch bridges are 1777
constructed using wood, steel and concrete.
Typical spans range from 40m to 150m, however
some are as large as 500m.
Truss bridges are skeletal structures constructed
by connecting individual straight elements using
pin joints. Pinned truss elements are only Brooklyn Bridge
subject to compression and tension forces. New York
Standard truss configurations are the Warren, 1870
Pratt and Howe. Truss bridges were very
common in Canada in the 19th and early 20th
century due to the abundance of wood. Iron and
steel tension rods were utilized with the wood
compression members. Covered bridges were
developed to protect the wooden truss structures
from the elements. In the middle of the 20th
century the majority of truss bridges were Mountain Creek Bridge
Rogers Pass, B.C.
constructed using steel. Typical spans range
from 40m to 500m with the largest approaching
Suspension bridges transfer the weight of the West Montrose Covered
deck through vertical hanger cables to large Bridge, Ontario
draped cables that pass over towers and are 1881
anchored at each end of the bridge. Early
suspension bridges utilized vines and fibre ropes
and progressed to linked iron bars and chains.
During the late 19th century this bridge type was
Hartland Covered Bridge
able to span greater distances using steel New Brunswick
cables. Special details are used to ensure that 1901
the bridge does not vibrate or sway due to strong
winds. Current suspension bridges are able to
span up to 4 km. Typical spans range from 70m
to over 1000m with the largest approaching 2 Hog Bay Trestle
km. Port McNicoll, Ontario
Cantilever bridges normally use two cantilevered
arms extending from each side that meet in the
centre. Bridges intended to carry lesser loads Quebec Bridge
may use simple beams while those aimed at Quebec
handling larger traffic make use of trusses or box 1917
girders. Typical spans range up to 550m.
Although similar to suspension bridges, the Fayetville Arch Bridge
difference lies in the amount of cable used. Less West Virginia
cable is required and consequently, the towers
holding the cables are shorter. There are four
main types of cable-stayed bridges. In the harp
cable arrangement, cables are attached to
multiple points of the tower thus making them Confederation Bridge
parallel. In the fan and star cable arrangement, P.E.I.
cables are attached to multiple points of the 1997
tower or pass over it. Typical spans range
between 110m and 480m with the largest
Bridge Engineers have responsibility to ensure Alex Fraser Bridge
public safety. Although most recent bridge Vancouver, B.C.
collapses appear to be related to maintenance
rather than design problems they provide a
sobering reminder that technological progress
always involves some risk, and that engineers
have a special responsibility to identify, account
for, and minimize its impact.
Jemseg River Bridge
The following internet sites provide a wealth of
information concerning various bridge types and
www.pghbridges.com/termsBrg.htm Millau Viaduct, France
The Challenge of building a bridge at J.B. Tyrrell Senior Public School
Wilberforce Johnson – Science Teacher – JB Tyrerell SPS
The Bridge Building contest sponsored by the Scarborough Chapter of the Professional
Engineers of Ontario has become somewhat of a traditional at JBTyrrell Senior Public School.
Students look forward for this event and commit
themselves to build the best bridge they possibly can.
Preparation for this event usually begins in January,
shortly after school resumes at the end of the winter
break. Students sign up as teams, and are taken
through an introduction to bridge building by first
viewing a video on structural bridge design. They
then look at entries from previous years and have
discussion with senior students who had competed in
the contest. During the last year’s competition a
Design template which catered to a variety of
modification was developed.
Using this as base structure, students take sound
design elements to devise ways of making
improvement on previous entries. They identify and
analyze previous failures, then add features which
they believe will strengthen their structure.
Bridge building in progress
Over the last two years Students have introduced a
system of machining dowels out of Popsicle sticks to
use as rivets at the Joints. This year they are striving to achieve precise measurements and
symmetry to ensure equity in force distribution during testing. Although the construction are
carried out using similar techniques and the specification is essentially unchanged, each designs
submitted by students at J.B.Tyrrell so for are always unique. The picture above features students
during the early stages of the Bridge building process.
Dr Pon Sivaji MD FRCPC ABIM
Specialist – Internal Medicine & Critical Care
3430 Finch Avenue East # 205 1366 Yonge Street # 306
Scarborough, Ontario, M1W 2R5 Toronto, Ontario, M4T 3A7
Tel: 416 298 0644 Tel: 416 962 5545
Fax: 416 298 4533 Fax: 416 962 6676
Beaumonde Heights JMS Don Mills Middle School
Sonics Indestructible 2.0
Vivekdeep Padam Derek Kleperis
Thomas Nguyen Matthew McMeekin
Zakaria Hassen Naeldo Dokaj
TNK Bridge Francis Libermann C.E.S.
Kiranpreet Bhangu Senior
Senior The Bridge
Gordon A. Brown PS
Chhavi Kalsi Bridge To Nowhere
Rabia Akbar Saeyon Mylvaganam
Baldeep Batth Stuart Craddock
Aleena Thomas Havenwood P.S.
BBS Havenwood Bridge
Heritage Park PS
Cedarwood P. S. Senior
JB Tyrrell Sr.P.S.
Churchill Height P.S. Senior
Junior NHK Cooperation
Eiffel Bridge Narthaanan Srimurugathasan
Saiyam Patel Keryn Jae Janer
Road Built On Air
Madinatul Uloom Academy
Keishan Amarukaran Senior
The Choosen One
Muhammad Muneeb Akmal
Dong Bang Shin Ki
Carmen Li McCowan Rd Jr. PS
Fire Cracker Junior
Linda Liu Stick Bridge
Valerie Hung Hequin Zhu
Yi Lu Morning Star Middle School
Whitney Van Senior
Shuttle one Little Engineer’s Bridge
Andy Luu Harshita Jha
David Hu Junior
Jing Ying Fan
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Outer Haven Junior
Frank Zhou O.L.G. 3
Thomas Donnelly Ryan Siddha
The Great Bridge of Awsomeness7 O.L.G. 4 G
Phoebe Oulton Angeli Figurado
Pheobe Deng O.L.G. 4 B
Ryerson Heights PS
Shivam’s #1 Bridge
Vaidehi Patel Golden Bridge
Sheppard Centre CS St. Antoine Daniel
The PC Bridge
St. Edward School
The Golden Gate Bridge
Right Cross Bridge
St Michael's Choir School
St. Isaac Jogues C.S.
Spartan Bridge 1
Alec Lindsay Olympis
Tristen Hewitt Morcos Saeed
Spartan Bridge 2 St. Kevin CS
Andrew Di Santo
The Grand Chase
Spartan Bridge 3 Stephanie Tecson
Adrian Colbert Cruziel Francisco
Xavier Pinarreta TBA
Vianca Dela Cruz
Spartan Bridge 4 Levine Alveza
Aaron James Espiritu
Wobern Junior PS
BBC 2009 – Team Leaders
L>R: Asogan; Uthayan; Vyke; Samer; Tom; Raju; Vyjayanthi; Arul; Maria; Kwame; Sunaina; Gangeswaran
A Special Thanks to our
Volunteers - BBC 2009
Curtis Dinker Fabiana
Jason Naren Whitefield
Asit Lalitha Pritish
Bhadresh Mei Shariful
Dhamay Mustafa Shiela
Gayathiri Maged Tim
Jega Perani Vajahat
PEO Scarborough Chapter - Executive Board
L>R: Murad Hussain (Executive); Major Cornelieu Chisu (Councilor); Denis Carlos (Councilor); Whitefield Ye (Executive);
Raju Chander (Chair); Ken Chiu (Executive); Kwame Johnson (Executive); Asogan Narayanapillai (Secretary);
Tom Fernandes (Treasurer); Madu Suthanan (Vice Chair). Ranee Mahalingam (Past Chair – not in picture).
Senior Team Junior Team
Uthayan Georg Kralik
Best wishes to the BBC 2009 participants
Bridge Building Competition
Winners of 2008 Competition.
For us, Happuka, Daniella and Erin, the 2008 Bridge Building
Competition was a new thing. The three of us had never built a bridge
made out of Popsicle sticks before and it was a fun and interesting
project that we all shared equally.
Since none of us had ever built bridges before our teacher, Mr.
Lam, was very helpful. He taught us all the basics we needed to know to
start our bridge, for example, how to create strong firm beams and how
to fit triangles into the bridge. He also taught us how to saw the ends of the beam and
how to shave it properly. It was a very long project and he was very patient and he
checked to made sure our bridge met all the specifications and was good enough for the
We began this project simply by making small beams. From there we began to
build the bridge and made sure we remembered all of Mr. Lam’s advice. Certain areas
that had been more vulnerable to breaking were covered with extra Popsicle sticks. The
beams were supported by triangles and these were supported by leftover pieces wherever
they met. Any Popsicle sticks that stuck out from the beam were shaved off.
Altogether, our bridge took many recesses to complete.
During that time we had countless laughs, disagreements, and lots of
fun. We never expected to win, but we did expect to learn a lot of
new things while we made it. We looked at pictures of bridges in our
science textbook and on the internet. The hardest part to making the
bridge was the beams. We had to make sure they were straight and
that there was as little space as possible between the sticks, and that
wherever the popsicles met they would firmly be covered by another
We believe that if you take your time, work hard and have fun, you’ll surely make
a bridge just as strong as ours. Just be confident and creative and do your very best. Our
bridge was completed through teamwork and effort. If your bridge is made with care in
the same way, we’re sure it will come out just as good as ours.
Results - BBC 2008
Junior - Performance
Unloaded Breaking Performance
Rank Bridge name School name weight (g) force (N) ratio (N/g)
Morning Star Middle
Little Engineer's School
Harshita Jha 250 960 3.84
Sacred Heart C.S.
The Rainbow Arc
Marian Sia 222 430 1.94
Sacred Heart C.S.
The Fate of Paris
Selena Papagianis 190 340 1.79
Junior - Judges
Bridge name School name
Rank Judges marks
Don Mills Middle School
1 Indestructible Derek Kleperis, 79
2 Wooden Wonderland II Ana Schugurensky 72
Sacred Heart C.S.
3 JOM Bridge Osayuki Ogbemudia 70
Sacred Heart C.S.
3 The Filipino Bridge 70
Sacred Heart C.S.
3 The Rainbow Arc Bridge Reema Norman 70
Results - BBC 2008
Senior - Performance
Breaking Performance ratio
Rank Bridge name School name weight
Carpe Diem Holy Spirit C.S.
Bridge Erin Edghill
1 241 1840 7.63
Random Berry Holy Spirit C.S.
2 Bridge Jessy Hodgins 245 1640 6.69
A Walk To JB Tyrrell Sr.P.S.
Remember Linda Liu
3 244 1350 5.53
Senior - Judges
Bridge name School name
Rank Judges marks
Jovanator Don Mills Middle School
Raam Setu Henry Hudson Sr. P.S.
2 Dhruvil Patel 84
Tribute to the Lin3 JB Tyrrell Sr.P.S.
DR. KUGANANTHY RAVINDRAN
BDS, Ms, F.D.S.R.C.S (England)
DR. RAVI KATHIRGAMASEGARAM
BDS, MSc, DMD (Canada)
(416) 281 7555 (416) 293 0130
Scarborough Professional Centre 5005 Steeles Ave., East
1371 Neilson Road - Suite # 212, Suite # 100
Scarborough - ON Scarborough - ON
M1B 4Z8 M1V 5K1
Bridge Building Competition –
Engineering is about compromise. There are limited resources and time and an engineer's goal is
to maximize a design's usefulness while minimizing resources. The Popsicle Stick Bridge
Building Competition is an introduction to the practice of professional engineering. As a
competitor, you have all designed a bridge with size and weight restrictions and attempted to find a
balance between them to build the strongest bridge.
I also participated in a similar competition when I was younger. As a mandatory requirement of
my physics class in high school, we were partnered up to design and build a bridge out of popsicle
sticks and glue. At first, we were not very keen on entering the competition but after scoping it out
and realizing the range of possibilities, we became a lot more interested. We were free to use any
design as long as it followed guidelines such as maximum size, length, and weight. The most
significant restriction was that any point in the bridge could be a maximum width of only three
possible sticks. We started by drawing an initial specification with exact measurements and angles
of the various trusses of our bridge. After many iterations, discussions, and compromises, we were
convinced that we had the winning design. Our bridge performed very well at the competition but
we overlooked a significant flaw at one of the junction points. It turned out that this was the
weakest point in our bridge. We were very disappointed because we had not foreseen this failure
point. We learned two important lessons of engineering practice.
1. Any design is only as strong as its weakest link
2. The principle of Murphy's Law which states that anything which can go wrong will go
The next year, we entered the contest again a second time. Our goal was to improve on our original
design and we focused heavily on strengthening the junction point where our bridge failed the year
before. We also made many improvements based on experience, further research, and the scouting
of previous competitors’ designs. Once we finalized on a design, our analysis pointed to a few
weak points but we convinced ourselves that they were far stronger than the weak point of our
bridge the year before. At the competition, our bridge faired much better and the point of failure
occurred exactly where we had predicted. We were very proud of our accomplishment as we came
in second place that year.
The Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition was an experience, which inspired me to become
an engineer. I enjoyed designing a solution which was a compromise between the many
restrictions of the competition and the maximize strength the bridge could achieve.
There is an engineer in all of us as we all make compromises in our own daily lives. We all
balance our time between work and play, or homework and games. Hopefully, you have
discovered the engineer in you during this competition. Good luck.
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Wishes all the Best for the Young Energetic Bridge
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Our contributors of Articles:
��Hon. Jim Bradley – Minister of Transportation
��Daniella, Erin and Happuka
��Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
��Professional Engineers Ontario
��Ontario Power Generation
�� Pon Sivaji
��Dentists Dr. Kugananthy & Dr. Ravi Kathirgamasegaram
��Dentist Dr. Jennifer Lopez
��Barrister Mylvaganam Inparajah
��Paul Foster - Manulife Securities
��George Rosati - RBC Dominion Securites
��Ken Murugananthan – Red Carpet Real Estate
All the participants and Guests
BBC 2009 Committee
28 February 2009
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